P.S. I now have a fanfiction account!
The promise that they could meet again brought a smile to Maurice’s face, even as he began his journey home; his elder brother lecturing him the whole way about Hell and Heaven. Soon he learnt to tune out of Stanley’s nonsense and focused on the more important matters. How could he convince his parents to let him leave for the evening?
‘What are you so cheerful about?’ Stan asked, glaring down at him, for his Cheshire Cat smile was rather off putting and distracting him from his argument.
They had just reached the end of the forest, and their manor was within view, but only just. There were only a few fields to go and they’d be home. Where most likely, their mother would be scolding them for being late home for dinner.
Maurice smiled mysteriously. He tapped his nose infuriatingly, causing his elder brother to murmur under his breath about annoying, secretive little brothers. After five minutes of silence, Stanley turned to him, furious.
‘Just who was that obnoxious boy we met earlier? He was infuriating! Don’t tell me you like him,’ he growled, fingering the trigger of his shotgun.
‘Of course not, Stan,’ Maurice lied, his smirk falling slightly. ‘He was the prefect, but we never really talked.’
‘Prefect!’ He exploded. ‘Goodness. He didn’t strike me as prefect material, to be honest.’
The youngest boy didn’t like the look Stan was giving him, so turned away, folding his arms across his chest and pouting. ‘Well, what do you know? I was his fag, and he was the best prefect Weston could ever have. Perhaps even better than you were…’
Stanley chose to ignore that remark. Both the comment on his previous occupation as prefect being a failure, and the fact he lied to him about not really speaking with him. Lucky Maurice, he thought after visualising himself beating him to a pulp. He will live another day.
‘Speaking of prefects,’ he said in a low tone, sending warning signals to go off in Maurice’s head. That voice always means danger. And most of the time, it meant some kind of impact on his future, whether he liked it or not…
‘Yes?’ he asked cautiously, wisely choosing to watch the blades of grass and daisies rather than his brother’s face.
‘You’ll be a senior soon. Don’t you think it’s a good idea to enrol in becoming a prefect? You’ll have a lot of credit. After all, you are the little brother of a previous prefect, and an old prefect’s fag. Just think. It would be perfect.’
‘You may think it would be perfect, but not for me…’ Maurice said through gritted teeth. ‘I’d much prefer to just be a regular student, thank you.’
Stanley groaned loudly. ‘You are such a disappointment!’
Almost biting his tongue in his annoyance, the blond boy stamped his foot on the ground and stormed off, leaving his elder to glare at his retreating back as he ran off home.
‘Think about it,’ he yelled over to him as he ran away.
‘No!’ Came the tremulous voice of his brother, already miles away.
Dinner was dull and deadly silent, as per usual. As it was the first evening back from school, Maurice just couldn’t get used to the unsettling quiet, for meals at Weston were full of giddy teenage boys yelling and roaring with laughter. Now, there was nothing but the gentle clinking of china and silverware against dinner plates. The lack of noise was enough to drive anyone insane. He had something important to say, but no matter how dire something could be, he knew he would be scolded for asking of something like this. Scrutinising everybody on the table, Maurice wondered who would be the right person to ask.
His father caught his wondering eyes and cleared his throat, setting his knife and fork down and looking deep into his eyes.
‘Is anything the matter, son?’
‘No, Sir,’ he said phlegmatically. He knew his father would definitely not be right. There was a curfew and he had to obey it, no matter the circumstances. His father was one to strongly reinforce that rule, typically with a leather belt.
‘Sir,’ said Stan, a smirk curving the corners of his mouth. He could be the devil when he wanted to be... ‘Our Maurice has been out with a stranger and his two dogs whilst we were out hunting. The two seemed very engaged in each other, I could hardly bring myself to—’
‘Please may I leave the table?’ The blond boy asked quickly, feeling his stomach churn with nerves. He left before they could answer him — or before Stanley could finish telling his tale of how he had almost kissed the ex-prefect.
He strode to his room, making his strides as fast as possible, and passing many concerned maids and stewards on the way. Slamming the door and leaning against it, he sunk down, absolutely mortified over what his brother was trying to do to him. Did he want him to be killed?
He perched on his bed, wrapping his arms around his knees and his head in his lap. If Stanley finished his story while he made his get away, surely his parents would have followed him and beaten him? If they knew… If they knew he was a homosexual — a queer — he would be disowned on the spot. Why would he do this to him? Why?
A few hours passed, with the tears falling down into his hair as he lay back on his bed. Yet nobody had come to yell at him or hurt him. He began to wonder if Stan was just teasing… But he would take no chances.
He sat bolt upright in bed, his eyes falling on the balcony. A gentle orange filtered through the gauzy white curtains as a summer breeze lifted the fabric. The boy stood up and made his way to the gothic stone balcony, head held high, but his fingernails digging into his sweaty palms. Outside fireflies were dancing amongst the oranges and blues of the sunset. Below, crickets and katydids scraped tunes from all angles. He wrapped his hands around the stone and peered downward. It was high… Really high. But he could do it. He had to.
The boy was stood pensively on the moss-encrusted stone, refusing to look down, his watery green eyes cast firmly on the beautiful sunset ahead. His heart felt like it would escape from his chest and settle in his stomach as tears burned his eyes. But he would not give in this time. Soon his vision blurred with the strain of repressed tears. He took a deep heaving breath and steadied himself. It was a long way down. A little slip, and he would spend the rest of his summer with two broken legs at least. Or dead.
Finally deciding on his fate, he smirked weakly to himself and slipped one foot onto a foothold, where a brick had come loose in particularly bad weather. Swinging his other leg over the balcony was a feat indeed without slipping down, but he managed it. Choosing to ignore the blood pounding in his ears, Maurice clung on for dear life, willing for the next loose brick to be nearby. He blindly felt around and before he knew it, his feet were touching the ground. He shuddered slightly, wondering how on earth he had made it out alive and unscathed. Giving his surroundings one last furtive survey, he dusted off his clothes and ran off in the direction of the forest. He knew it was wrong and impolite to just knock on the Viscount’s door unannounced at this hour. Yet he didn’t want to stick around for the beating of a lifetime when his parents had forced Stanley to finish what he was trying to say earlier. The boy was no stranger to Big Trouble, but never anything as humiliating and sinful as what he would be facing if he didn’t escape now. Besides, Edgar did say he could visit him, didn’t he?
Closing his eyes and knocking the door, he opened them to see a butler standing there, Edgar by his side. He had to admit he was surprised to see Edgar there (shouldn’t he be with the Viscount?) yet found himself beaming widely, despite the look of confusion on the older boy’s face.
‘Maurice, I didn’t know you’d be here so soon. I thought you’d at least wait until the next day,’ Edgar said with a laugh, but let him inside never the less. The butler led them upstairs and left them alone, guessing by the guest’s tear-stained face that they’d like to talk in private.
When they were in the guest parlour connected with what Maurice supposed was Edgar’s bedroom, Edgar called for tea and gestured for the boy to sit down. Maurice felt slightly guilty for visiting at this hour and flushed slightly. There was a moment of silence before Edgar said:
‘I told uncle Aleister you would probably be visiting sometime soon, and he didn’t seem to mind. So don’t look so suspicious, Maurice,’ Redmond reassured him, reading Maurice like a book.
‘You’re not angry with me?’
‘Of course not,’ Edgar whispered silkily, turning to face him directly. ‘Just as long as you tell me one thing…’
‘What’s that?’ Maurice asked.
‘Why are you so sad?’
He couldn’t hold it back anymore. For the entire walk to his friend’s home, he had put the frustration and fear to the back of his mind, but right now, it was all bubbling back to the surface. His mouth opened but before he could say anything a howl of anguish escaped his lips. Ashamed, he sunk to his knees in front of Edgar; his tears sliding down his face and dropping to the plush carpet like raindrops, and one balled fist clenched to his mouth to stop the shameful sobbing. Edgar almost leapt to his feet in shock, but stopped himself. Instead he watched Maurice cry, afraid to ask him what was the matter. Realising he needed to stop the tears somehow, he put one hand on the youngest boy’s head and stroked his soft, radiant curls.
Maurice edged closer and put his head in Redmond’s lap, giggling a little despite the steady flow of tears. Glad that he had made an attempt to cheer up, Edgar picked up one of the little curls and played with it in his hands. He could feel his warmth against his thighs and let his fingers run through his hair, some of the ringlets curling around them. The boy looked up into Redmond’s face and must have seen some form of consent there, for he straightened up slightly and put his head onto his chest, clenching at his black clothes and trembling with the fear he tried so hard to hide earlier.
‘There, there,’ he cooed, resting his own head against Maurice’s and stroking his hair. Despite how convincing his comfort sounded, he was really embarrassed at how meek he sounded.
Maurice parted from him, but still gripping his blazer, his face was inches from Redmond’s. They stared into each other’s eyes, a dull, heavy understanding settling between the two. Edgar knew what was wrong yet he didn’t have to utter a word. He just knew.
‘I’m sorry,’ Maurice mumbled dismally, ‘I didn’t mean to trouble you, Edgar.’
‘Shh,’ he said, placing a kiss on Maurice’s lips. ‘Don’t be silly.’
It was only a small kiss, yet it left Maurice stunned. He closed his eyes, separating the distance between them with another kiss, then another, and another. Edgar’s cheeks flushed, realising how much he actually loved being kissed by the boy. These kisses had none of the desperation and greed he tasted on that night in the Swan Gazebo, but instead was mingled sadness and tenderness; and somewhat, the taste of sin, something he imagined Eve would have tasted when she ate the apple in the Garden of Eden. He was ashamed. He was furious with himself for succumbing to Maurice’s cold and calculating willpower. But he was also enjoying himself. He kissed Maurice’s parted lips, his arms wrapped around his waist and lowering to his hips. Maurice settled himself into his lap without invitation and put his arms around his neck, deepening the kiss further. His fingers untied the ribbon in Edgar’s hair and played with his long hair, slipping his hands onto his shoulders and digging in when Edgar’s lips moved to his neck. Maurice let out a few heated moans. The feeling of lips against his skin moved to his jaw and finally to his ear before the sensation stopped altogether. With a content sigh Edgar deepened the kiss even further by tilting the boy’s head up at just the right angle.
Out of the corner of his eye the light fell on something metallic, catching Edgar’s attention. He broke away from Maurice and avoided another kiss by turning his face away. The boy pouted, but Edgar had no idea, as he was completely entranced by the moon’s reflection in the pure silver pair of scissors; the early evening moon bouncing off the metal and into Edgar’s vision. Maurice could see the ghastly orb imprinted on Edgar’s mahogany gaze, yet in the dull light they appeared blood red and simmering with white-hot rage. He flinched violently and made an attempt of escape, but not before Edgar seized him by the collar with reflexes as fast as a vampires’.
Maurice knew something was wrong — terribly wrong — yet he found himself in a palsy as he was pinned against the sofa, as hopeless and vulnerable as a butterfly caught in a spider’s web, or an animal ready for dissection. He trembled uncontrollably as Edgar reached over for the scissors, black rage contorting his handsome features, making him look somewhat like the Devil himself. And he had managed to seduce him like the devil would too… Maurice hated how he had became to trust Edgar.
‘Do you know why I was expelled?’ He asked silkily, one hand thrust against Maurice’s chest to pin him down, the other stroking stray curls away from the terrified boy’s face.
‘N-n-no,’ he whimpered, wishing he could sound more fierce and courageous. Despite the urgency of the situation, he made no attempt to get away.
‘I killed Derick Arden,’ he said happily, sounding like it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. ‘I murdered him along with the other prefects, and that’s the reason I can’t go to Weston anymore.’
The last sentence he said was riddled with regret and self-loathing. Maurice found himself unable to speak, unable to move, and somewhat, unable to hear. He was blinded by fear, only aware of the tight sensation in his chest and the painful pressure against his body.
Finally he managed to spit out, ‘B-but w-w-why?’ Fresh tears sparkled in his eyes.
Edgar’s voice sounded uncontrollably hysteric, rising and falling with rapidly changing emotions. ‘He betrayed me… and so did you! Even you!’
Suddenly he lunged, the scissors plunging down into Maurice’s neck. A scream surged through the building but there was nobody to save him, for nobody cared. Nobody really loved him — it was all for show.
Using his dying strength and a newfound burst of adrenaline, he grabbed Edgar’s wrist and held it firmly away from his body; the blood dying everything that terrible, hateful crimson that soaked Edgar’s conscience. But it was too much to bear, and his hand came collapsing down in weakness, his whole body trembling and bloodied vomit escaping his lips. One last feeble shriek came from him before he lay back and became completely passive and still, trapped underneath Edgar’s body. Yet Edgar stabbed him over and over, not taking any chances. When the corpse became completely rigid, he slid off him and stood back, admiring his work.
There was nothing but red. That detestable, brutal colour of love and death. Red on the walls, red on the floor, red all over Maurice, and red staining his face and clothes — some of it clinging to his platinum hair in sticky, revolting clumps.
Maurice lay on his back, the silky sheets tangled around his body, his eyes wild, and a cold sweat coating his body. Everything added up all of a sudden.
(Frightened? Why frightened?)
And he felt sick to his stomach… His image of Edgar was ruined forever but there was nothing he could do about it now. Things could be worse… He could be six feet underground in a makeshift, shallow grave, forgotten by all his friends and family, until Christmas or Easter came around and everybody was wondering where he disappeared off to. Just like Derick Arden.